Game 6 (2006)
As Good As It Gets
Let me be very fair here, this is not the best movie in my opinion. But, this movie is fun, it has purpose and is very enjoyable to watch.
There's no way I can possibly love it entirely but I just think its ridiculously bad, but enjoyable at the same time.
Game 6 is harks back images of Birdman another of Michael Keaton's gems. The movie belongs to him and he has done complete justice to his part. The movie touches upon topics of superstition, faith, and hope.The story takes place in New York in 1986. It takes allegories from the famous world series between Mets & Boston Red Sox game, that took place the same year. Game 6 is based on a story by acclaimed author Don DeLillo (who adapted the screenplay), Nick (Keaton) is a playwright who has a new drama opening the same night as the big playoff between Red Sox & Mets. Nick life squirms with demons that he has created for himself. He has a mistress, a dissatisfied wife a daughter who wishes he could pay more attention and last but not the least a constant doubt of success and win in his career. He is warned by his friends about how badly a review from Schwimmer could effect his career. Nick is in a way, scared of the review that the harsh 'phantom' critic, Schwimmer, (Downey) may give for his life's work. Although Downey has little screen time, he is effective as the most dreaded Broadway critic. The face-off between Downey & Keaton is electric and sort of funny at the time time.My favorite line in the movie – Toyota Moseby - Life is good! And these lines hold true for any critic. Have a heart! Truth is tough to hear but it can definitely be told in a gentler way. Paisley Porter: I didn't understand until today how much pain and anxiety you've been causing everybody with your reviews. Steven, it's completely unfair.Steven Schwimmer: It's unfair? Paisley Porter: Yes. Steven Schwimmer: The truth is always unfair. Paisley Porter: Well, it doesn't have to be. Steven Schwimmer: Why do you think I live this way? Why do you think I'm, I'm taking electricity from the lamp-post (gesturing outdoors) and hiding out? Why? Paisley Porter: Because you choose to. Steven Schwimmer: No. Because people who write the truth are the outcasts of society. I can't live openly. I can't live in a nice door-man building, with my name on the mailbox, because they'd, they'd come after me in packs! Paisley Porter: Not if you wrote the truth gently. Steven Schwimmer: But the truth is never gentle!
For the first half hour I hated this. I thought it was a total dud, an esoteric Woody-Allen-ish stream of consciousness designed for hip NYC urbanites who exist in a world of $10-a-cup coffeehouses. I almost shut it off, but I stuck with it because it was a rainy day and the only other thing on TV was "Nacho Libre".I think it was the powerful scene with Harris Yulin (a great, underrated actor whose face appeared on practically every TV series in the 70s) portraying an over-the-hill stage actor with a 'parasite' in his brain. That scene snapped me to attention, and suddenly the entire movie began to fall into place. At about the same time, the plot shifts gears from neurotic Woody Allen to a suddenly darker, menacing and suspenseful tone. The story, the themes, the words & acting slowly gain momentum, paralleling the tense final innings of the World Series Game 6 which is shown concurrently with the action on screen.Indeed, I realized that this film is much like a baseball game with it's slow & usually uneventful start, slowly changing to a tense, passionate, heart-stopping experience as we go into extra innings. It reminded me a lot of the excellent Oliver Stone film "Talk Radio" with its minimal setting yet its power to bring our blood to a feverish high. By the time it was over, I realized that this innocuous little flick really packs a punch, in story, theme and technique.Imagine my astonishment when I learned that this film was done on a budget of 500k. To put that in perspective, consider that the average film has a budget of at least 10x that ("Crash" which won best picture in the same year 2005 had a budget of $6.5 million). But then I realized that the low budget was the reason why this movie was so effective. The budgetary limitations led the director & crew to use creative techniques which are what make this such a great film by any standards. You might miss it upon 1st viewing, but there are some subtle, surreal moments that give the film its unique style. For example, there's a scene in a bar where two characters are talking, and in the background keep an eye out for a NYC hazard team cleaning up an asbestos leak in slow motion. In the commentary, the director mentions that this was done simply because they couldn't afford to rent a bar set in downtown, so they had to shoot elsewhere & superimpose a plate glass window in post production. The slow motion background was an afterthought but a brilliant one which emphasizes the theme of asynchronicity & disconnection we see throughout. There are many such examples, but I'll leave them to you to discover.This film was an extremely satisfying experience for me. If you like films that are artistic, entertaining & challenging at the same time, you should definitely check this out. Similar movies are "Talk Radio", "Buffalo 66", "Adaptation", and the Japanese film "Shiki Jitsu", all worth watching.
So many nice touches to this film - the unpronounceable taxi driver names, the two Mets fans encountered in the restaurant bathroom, the asbestos incident, the claustrophobic camera tracking in the ATM scene, it's obvious that this film was made for the love of the script and the art of cinema, and not for the monetary return. What I think is amazing is that the big-name actors took salaries that are barely more than extras' pay on your normal big- budget films. And it all worked - Game 6 is very well done and enjoyable.It's interesting that the Mets seem to be finding their way into film plots. The Miracle Mets of 1969 were a vital part of the movie "Frequency" a few years ago, and now "Game 6" commemorates the now-iconic comeback that will always be a hallmark of the Mets' second World Championship. Cool, especially if you are a Mets fan (check!).But Red Sox fans- what's this fascination with Bill Buckner's error? If you get a chance, look at the video of that play again, and try to figure out how Buckner could field the ball, change direction, and get to the bag ahead of Mookie Wilson. Mookie was on full throttle and rounded first just after the ball skipped past Buckner. The error wouldn't have mattered, Mookie was going to beat it out, and the pitcher Stanley wasn't covering first in time either. Yeah, since Buckner didn't field it, it's an error, but even IF he had, it would have been scored a single.
I saw this movie with about 300 people as a screening for a film class. About 1/2 the audience did not like it and the other 1/2 did. Many saw it as a baseball movie. I saw it as a movie about fear of failure and the expectation of failure in life by many. I felt that the script relating the expectations of the Boston Red Sox fans who feel the curse and expect to lose was incredibly written to parallel how this can relate to the way a person visualizes his life and dreams (real or imagined). The script was brilliant, the acting was extraordinary. I don't know that this will work commercially but I was moved by this movie more than any movie I have seen in a long time. Too me, this was not a baseball movie, this was a brilliant look into the the mind of more people than we would like to believe.